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restaurant reviewing policy

The most important thing to remember about galaxy guides is that we do not list 400 to 500 generic reviews. Adelaide for instance has some five and a half thousand restaurants and we currently have less that 80 in our guide for Adelaide. Further our guide is updated on an almost daily basis and we endeavour to keep our information as current as possible. After having been co–editor for two dining guides published by the South Australian publisher Wakefield Press, and publishing our own guide in 2006 we had to acknowledge that as much as we tried to make them current, they were out of date by the time they were published.

Just to be included in galaxy guides is a huge accolade. Regardless of price the establishments listed in our guide, are that small handful of eating establishments that represent the best of a city and state.

When reviewing the food of a restaurant, like it or not, the price is always relevant to the review. This is not out of meanness but of relevance to what equates on the plate.

It is impossible not to review without personal preferences forefront, and there is no apology for that. Wild caught, sustainable, grass–fed are words that are music to our ears and the basis of our cooking. In season and fresh, is the basis of all fine cooking. Do you want to eat frozen seafood (despite the fact that there are instances when we must comply in the instance of our superb gulf prawns), or eat deep–sea seafood that has languished in a bloody ice slurry for more than a week, to be exposed to the air and instantly rotten? Not us!

Technical skill and knowledge of a particular cuisine is relevant. Outrage and innovation interests us, but the dishes must be technically sound and adhere to our belief that in–season, wild caught, grass–fed are important to the excellence of food, not to mention it’s sustainable future. A fascination for street food, the cook who makes a single dish for his entire life, hones it and perfects it fascinates us. How do you compare the perfect tofu and green vegetable dumplings at your favourite dumpling shop in Shanghai with its nearest approximation in your home city? You cannot, and you should not! Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean the dumplings in your home town aren’t acceptable, but when reviewing on a world stage their authenticity is relevant and must be described. Every dining experience has relevance, whether it costs a couple of dollars or several hundreds of dollars. By providing an index by price we pay homage to the noodle and dumpling maker and equally to the Michelin three star chefs and every chef and cook in between that spectrum. They all have equal relevance to the dining experience of a city or region.

What we aim to do is provide educated and knowledgeable information. How you use this information is entirely individual, but our research shows us that our readers spend from the minimum to the maximum and this is the basis of our reviewing system. We believe it is possible to find value for money at the max. Equally we frequently find there is not value for money at the $50 to $80 price range. Every dining experience is individual, but there are constants that must be considered such as service, venue, food and wine appropriate to price. As a chef I would eat off of a dirty floor if that food showed individuality and tasted fantastic but I have had to come to terms with the fact that the general dining public are not up for that. Happily we have a lot of very obsessed individuals who follow us into dark territory to share our experience and we always try to write it how it is.

Accoutrements are important according to the price and reputation of the establishment and must be taken into account. We are not embarrassed to recommend a single dish or to steer our readers away from a particular dish. In all the thousands of meals we have consumed the perfect dining experience is a rare jewel!

Ann Oliver
food editor and publisher
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food editor and publisher
Ann Oliveremail

wine editors
Dr Alexandra Burridge
Duane Coates

regular contributors
Marian Clarkin — melbourne, victoria

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver 2010

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